Foldable accessory transforms your bike into a Draisine to ride on abandoned railways

Cam Engineering Rail Bike
Rail Bike with folding outriggers to ride on abandoned railways. Images © Cam Engineering

The latest innovation by YouTuber, Cam Engineering, makes it easy to navigate through California’s extensive network of railroads and mountain trails. Cam Engineering has designed a retractable accessory that can be hooked up to any bike to modify it into a form of versatile draisine. This transformation makes it easy for the bike to be ridden on the road and also across abandoned rail tracks.

It is important to note that the rail bike is not an entirely new concept. Modern draisine is best described as an evolution of the human-controlled transportation medium originally developed in the early 19th century. Users of the early draisines didn’t get to use pedals. The early draisines also lacked chain drives which are common with modern bikes. Hence riders had to reach the ground using their legs and lurch forward by walking or running.

This simple design has undergone a significant amount of upgrades by numerous inventors across the world. The German term ‘Draisine’, however, still remains, and it is now being used to refer to the rail vehicle. For a transportation device that can be propelled by one or two persons, it is extremely lightweight. It is routinely employed to move transportation personnel and maintenance equipment across rail tracks.

There are currently a good number of these pedal-propelled automobiles that help easily navigate through a stretch of unutilized rail tracks. They are essentially designed to satisfy leisure and sporting needs. They are also called cyclo-draisines. The initial rail vehicles feature a double driving position—one driving position on each rail. The two driving positions are connected via a platform, and movement is produced by the pressure exerted by the two pedalers. This propelling mechanism makes the rail vehicle different from the Cam Engineering rail bike.

Cam Engineering Rail Bike Folded
The accessories are foldable, so you can also ride it as a normal bike.

The creative design by Cam Engineering employs a combination of an extra wheel at the front and a stabilizer placed by the side to successfully maneuver a rail track. The good thing about this design is that the accessories are retractable. This means once they are folded, the bike is transformed back to its original form and can be ridden through the roads again.

For the front roller, Cam Engineering used a rubber longboard wheel. To prevent the additional wheel from straying sideways on the track, a disc is fitted on both sides of the wheel. A telescopic boom is also installed on the bike to further enhance stability. The telescopic boom has its wheel fitted at the end. This accessory essentially acts as the stabilizer. The length of the telescopic boom can be adjusted. Its adjustable length is dependent on the distance that exists between the rails. This two-piece equipment can be retracted with ease making its transport convenient.

Cam Engineering Rail Bike Front Wheel
The Rail Bike has an additional wheel on the front, with a disc fitted on both sides.

The latest creative design by Cam Engineering further aids the tradition of classic cycling. The major drawback to this innovation has to do with the front wheel. The front wheel does not provide adequate clearance. This becomes obvious when the rail track transverses the road. Overall it is an ingenious and effective innovation.

Check out the Rail Bike in action in the video below.

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